Race 8, Memphis
In the last practice (also known as "happy hour"), the truck was still a bit slow. There wasn't much we thought we could do, so to conserve tires, we parked the truck for the night.
The next morning, we again made changes to the setup, in hopes of coming up with a combination that would be good for the whole race--not just a two-lap qualifying run. When the race started, the thing still felt funny, so I held on, and ended up fading back to around 8th spot. Finally, a caution came out at a time when most trucks needed new tires. We decided to stay out and gain track position. We found ourselves in 3rd when the green came out, only to have another caution come out a few laps later. Our strategy was to have the freshest tires on the track with about 20 or 30 laps in the race. So therefore, we again, chose not to pit.
"Mike Wallace and I went for the same opening on the track, and he hit me, sending me into a spin...Just as I was starting to move back towards the front, a truck wrecked right in front of me..."
When the next green came out, the early race leaders began to work their way back towards the front. I began to feel as if I was in the middle of a truck sandwich… I had a lapped truck in front of me and the guys who'd been leading the race were pecking at my rear bumper. Then, another lapped truck made a move in an attempt to pass the leader, and nudged him out of the way. Everybody saw what was happening, and tried like heck to avoid getting caught up in the mess. As it turned out, Mike Wallace and I went for the same opening on the track, and he hit me, sending me into a spin. I got the truck to do a 360, I pointed it in the right direction, and kept going. By the time I had my bearings, I was in 21st spot, and prevented a caution from coming out.
Just as I was starting to move back towards the front, a truck wrecked right in front of me. As I checked up, I got drilled from behind, pushing me into the truck in front of me. There was no steam or anything coming from under the hood, just some bent up sheet metal, so when I took the caution, I drove into the pits. The crew pulled the metal away, and as I was sitting there, I noticed my oil temperature pegged, and my water temperature was "up there". I went back out onto the track, and shortly thereafter, the engine blew. There my day ended. Victim of a busted radiator fitting.
There's not much else to say, other than the engine under the hood was fairly stout, and despite not having a perfect suspension, I think we would have ended up with another top ten finish. Now it's on to Pike's Peak…
Preparation for Pikes Peak:
We'll be taking the Memphis truck to race at Pike's Peak, with a new engine (of course) and some shiny new sheet metal. What's going to make the difference at Pike's Peak is the fact that NASCAR is going to allow an extra 8 hours of testing, which will DEFINITELY come in handy. We'll be concentrating again on setting up the truck for long runs on this flat one-mile speedway. We've had only moderate success at this track. In the past, we've qualified well, but always seem to get caught up in bad luck later in the race. I think things will be a bit different this year. What's the difference? We now have a drop-snout truck that handles well on flat corners… We have a team that knows we can win, and we have a paved parking area that will prevent us from sinking up to our axles in mud. What else can we ask for?
Volume IX Pages: